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North Carolina to host game at former home Carmichael Arena

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North Carolina is heading back home. In a specific sort of way.

The Tar Heels are returning to their former home gym of Carmichael Arena for a one-night engagement thanks to a scheduling conflict with Wofford and the Dean Dome, the school announced Thursday.

Wofford’s schedule and UNC’s need to head west to face Gonzaga later in the week made moving the date unworkable while the Dean Dome is hosting commencement that day, Dec. 15.

“Due to Wofford’s playing schedule and Carolina’s travel schedule to Gonzaga, it was necessary to play the game on the 15th, but of course we knew that is the date of Commencement,” said senior associate director of athletics Clint Gwaltney. “We appreciate both coach (Roy) Williams’ and Wofford’s flexibility in agreeing to move the game to another venue. It should be an outstanding environment in which to play that game.”

Carmichael hasn’t hosted a regular season game since 1986, though the Tar Heels did play an NIT game there in 2010.

“Carmichael brings back great memories of my first eight years as an assistant to coach (Dean) Smith and the exciting game we played against William and Mary in 2010,” Roy Williams said in a statement. “Wofford will bring an outstanding team and the environment will be electric. I’m sure it will be a tough ticket to get and a special day for everyone who is lucky enough to be there for that game.”

The 6,800-seat venue will make for a cool and memorable environment as the former home to the likes of Dean Smith, James Worthy and Michael Jordan.

Virginia lands four-star 2020 wing Jabri Abdur-Rahim

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Virginia continued its hot recruiting run on Wednesday as the Cavaliers landed a commitment from four-star Class of 2020 wing Jabri Abdur-Rahim.

The son of former NBA all-star Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Jabri is regarded as a high-end, four-star prospect as he checks in at No. 41 overall in the Rivals national Class of 2020 rankings.

At 6-foot-6, Jabri was one of the Nike EYBL’s most productive players this spring as he ran with the Playaz Club out of New Jersey. Putting up 25.2 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game in 13 games this spring, Abdur-Rahim showcased big-time scoring ability while also helping out on the glass. While Abdur-Rahim will have to improve his 39 percent field-goal percentage and 30 percent three-point shooting, he will be forced to take more efficient looks once he’s in the Virginia offense.

Head coach Tony Bennett continues to do a fine job of gathering 2020 commitments as the Cavaliers beat Michigan in the race for Abdur-Rahim. The third pledge for Virginia in 2020, Abdur-Rahim joins four-star guard Reece Beekman and three-star guard Carson McCorkle in the class so far. With three commitments in 2020, Virginia can comb the class for another player or start focusing on younger classes as the program is ahead of many others when it comes to future commitments.

NCAA gives N.C. State notice of allegations connected to recruitment of Dennis Smith Jr.

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The NCAA continues to investigate schools connected to the FBI’s college basketball corruption cases as a notice of allegations to N.C. State was confirmed by the school on Wednesday afternoon.

The first school to receive an NCAA notice of allegations based on findings in the FBI’s cases, N.C. State is accused of two Level I violations (the most serious of violations) and two Level II violations connected to the recruitment of former point guard and NBA lottery pick Dennis Smith Jr.

The allegations include more than $47,000 in impermissible benefits for Smith, failure to monitor for the school and a violation of head coach responsibility for former head coach Mark Gottfried. Former N.C. State assistant coach Orlando Early is accused of allegedly helping steer a $40,000 payment from a former Adidas executive to Smith’s family in Oct. 2015.

During last October’s FBI corruption trial, former Adidas AAU coach and runner TJ Gassnola testified that he made two payments to the family of Smith. The first payment allegedly occurred while Smith was a junior in high school with the second one coming in 2015. Gassnola claims he delivered $40,000 in cash to Early’s house, which was then supposedly given to Smith’s trainer.

Gottfried is currently the head coach at Cal State Northridge while Early hasn’t coached in Division I since leaving N.C. State in 2017. The failure to monitor charge is a Level I allegation against Gottfried.

N.C. State, Gottfried and Early will have 90 days to respond to the NCAA’s claims before a hearing is conducted with the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions.

Chancellor Randy Woodson from N.C. State released an official statement on the NCAA’s allegations on Wednesday.

“NC State is committed to the highest levels of compliance, honesty and integrity,” Woodson said in a statement. “As the university carefully reviews the NCAA’s allegations and thoroughly evaluates the evidence in order to determine our response, we are prepared to be accountable where we believe it is appropriate and to vigorously defend this great university and its Athletics program where we feel it is necessary.”

While Smith is currently with the New York Knicks and won’t receive any punishment from the NCAA, the notice of allegations could have a big impact on N.C. State and Gottfried’s NCAA coaching career. The two Level I charges, in particular, are very serious as they could lead to severe punishments for the school and potential show-cause penalties for both Gottfried and Early.

The NCAA will likely continue to send notices to additional schools that were named in the FBI’s corruption cases as numerous players, coaches and programs were named under oath during multiple trials. This is likely the beginning of a busy few months for the NCAA as they sort through all of the damage that was unearthed from those trials.

Ty Jerome revenge tour continues at NBA Summer League

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Late on Tuesday evening, a picture of Ty Jerome – the former UVA and current Phoenix Suns point guard – wearing a UMBC t-shirt at NBA Summer League started making the rounds on twitter:

Why would Jerome, the point guard of the only team to ever lose to a No. 16 seed, wear a t-shirt supporting said No. 16 seed?

Well, here’s the answer:

Oh.

That’s why.

I love Ty Jerome. I’m not even going to try to hide it. He’s the kind of dude that never forgets a slight, and he’ll spend the rest of his life reminding you about it when he proves you wrong. Remember when he came for Stephen A. Smith? Or for Mike Francesa? What about Pat Forde?

I imagine Jerome like Steve Buscemi’s character in Billy Madison. He has a list of people that he’s coming for, and he’s crossing them off, one by one. No apologies as he gets every last bit of revenge.

And while we’re here, you should read my story from Minneapolis on how Virginia celebrated becoming the greatest redemption story in the history of sports.

Duke lands five-star 2020 prospect Jalen Johnson

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Duke reeled in a major commitment during America’s birthday on Thursday afternoon as five-star Class of 2020 prospect Jalen Johnson pledged to the Blue Devils with an announcement on Twitter.

The top prospect in the 2020 class to verbally commit to this point, the 6-foot-8 Johnson is currently regarded as the No. 4 overall prospect in the Rivals Class of 2020 national rankings. A native of Glendale, Wisconsin, Johnson has been one of the top players in the country this spring playing in the Nike EYBL. Through 12 games, Johnson is putting up 17.0 points, 9.2 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game while shooting 50 percent from the field.

Showcasing elite vision on the wing, Johnson should be able to grab rebounds and push the ball up the floor as he’s able to initiate offense and make plays for himself or others. Johnson will have to improve his 18 percent three-point shooting, but everything else in place for him to be an elite college player from the moment he steps foot on campus.

Johnson is Duke’s second Class of 2020 commitment as he joins five-star point guard Jeremy Roach. Between Roach and Johnson, Duke has plenty of ball handlers and two very good passers already in the class as Coach K and his staff once again begin to piece together an elite group of prospects.

Now that Duke has two commitments in the class, it’ll be interesting to see where they set their sights next as they’ll continue to try to bring talented pieces together. Already with the No. 1 class in 2020, Duke continues to recruit at a higher level than any other program in college hoops.

Virginia, Gonzaga players starring in FIBA U-19 World Cup

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The U-19 World Cup kicked off over the weekend, and there is a decided college basketball flavor to this year’s event, which is taking place in Crete.

The American team is absolutely loaded with college hoops talent as well as the next wave of basketball stars. Jalen Green, Cade Cunningham and Evan Mobley are the biggest names in the event, but there are six college players on Team USA that will play a major role on their respective teams next season — Tyrese Haliburton, Iowa State; Kira Lewis, Alabama; Isaac Likekele, Oklahoma State; Reggie Perry, Mississippi State; Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Villanova; and Trevion Williams, Purdue.

It will certainly be worthwhile for fans of those teams to track how those guys play, but they are hardly the teams that have the most interesting storylines to follow.

That would be Gonzaga and Virginia.

The Zags are the program with the most players on or committed to their program playing in the U-19s. The names that you’ll likely know are Filip Petrusev and Joel Ayayi. Petrusev is leading the tournament in scoring through the first two games, averaging 23.0 points and 9.0 boards while shooting 17-for-21 from the floor in just 26.5 minutes. That’s impressive, but it did come against China and Puerto Rico, who are not exactly considered favorites in this event.

Ayayi has struggled to find his footing in Gonzaga’s backcourt — it’s never a good sign when a coach feels the need to bring in a pair of grad transfers to start over a redshirt sophomore — but he’s has a pretty impressive tournament to date. Ayayi had 26 points, seven boards (six offensive) and three steals in the opener against Puerto Rico, following that up with a 10-six-five line against China. Serbia and France face off on Tuesday.

There are two future Zags that are competing in this tournament as well. Puerto Rico’s Julian Strawther, a four-star wing from Nevada that is in the class of 2020, is averaging 15.5 points through two games, including a 22 point outburst against Serbia, while Oumar Ballo has finally arrived in Greece after watching his Mali team land wins over Latvia and Canada, one of the favorites in the event. Ballo is a top 30 recruit.

Virginia may not have more on the line, but there are two ‘Hoos that are having some early success in the event. Australia’s Kody Stattmann, who is theoretically in line for some minutes on Virginia’s perimeter, had 21 points in the opener against Canada, while Francisco Caffaro is averaging 13.0 points and 6.0 boards for Argentina through two games.

Among the other names to track in this event — South Carolina’s A.J. Lawson has been the best player for Team Canada through two games while Pitt commit and four-star recruit Karim Coulibaly has more than made up for Ballo’s absence on Mali.